Welcome to the my blog. My name is Lucy Farfort i'm a freelance illustrator & designer maker. This is where you can find out what i've been up to of late, read my attempts at a decent post & the rantings of a visual addict. Hope you like it. You can contact me to say 'hi' by email on lucy@lucyshappyplace.com
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Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Hidden treasures

Earlier this month Walton Robinson started a competition called Newcastle Secrets where students were asked to submit their favourite or newly discovered place to visit in Newcastle. These submissions are now open to public vote and the lucky student whose suggested location receives the largest number of votes will win 300 quid.
I was honoured to be asked to write a blog post as part of their campaign on my five favourite places to go in the city. Its lovely to be asked to write posts, not least as it lets me know that people are actually reading my musings, but also because it gives me a focus to write about something fresh.

As I began writing this it became apparent that narrowing my choices down to five was going to be tricky. It also became glaringly obvious that the majority of my favourite places to frequent are cafés. I'm not quite sure what this says about me as a person, but hey, I do like a good cake :)
Given the competition title is Newcastle Secrets i've mainly tried to choose places a little off the beaten track and let people know about some hidden gems which they may not already be aware of. Here goes:

- Scrumpy Willow and the Singing Kettle café - Despite its rather twee name (sorry, you know I love you, but really) this friendly, rustic café on Clayton Street is without a doubt my favourite café in Newcastle (very closely followed by Settle Down). They have a huge variety of delicious food much of which is organic, free range and/or local produced. They even make their own bread. Its a foody's paradise!  I would highly recommend the very simple but extremely tasty avocado on toast - yum!! http://www.scrumpywillowandthesingingkettle.co.uk/

- Sugar Down Bakery -  A tiny, but charming bakery, tucked away on Pink Lane.  This bakery is the tasty offspring of Settle Down café which resides just around the corner on Thornton Street. Its a fairly new establishment offering a select range of artisan bread such as sourdough, savoury bakes and tempting cakes. Any place which can make boring old rock cake taste like food of the god's gets my vote. http://www.get-into-newcastle.co.uk/where-to-eat/285/sugar-down-bakery.aspx

- Star and Shadow Cinema  - A volunteer run cinema with a bar in Ouseburn, which only opens when an event is on so check their site before-hand. This quirky, art-house/madhouse, off beat venue plays host to gigs, exhibitions, markets, festivals, club nights, performances & more. Foremost, as the name suggests it is a cinema, which generally shows obscure films which you won't see anywhere else. A super friendly, super inclusive place entirely built and run by dedicated volunteers. A place for the open of heart and mind! http://www.starandshadow.org.uk/

- Cyrenians - A charity shop in Eldon Square which as far as i'm aware, like Made In Newcastle was set up as an empty shop project. This place is great as they have quite a large range of vintage clothing which isn't over priced and to top it off the money goes to charity. Cyrenians is an independent Scottish charity,  that focus on helping those on the margins of society, such as the homelessness, poverty stricken and people suffering with addictions. So you'd be shopping for a very good cause indeed! http://www.thecyrenians.org/shop

- Tyneside Cinema - I couldn't possibly do this post without including this. An independent cinema housed in a stylish art deco building, this is a fabulous and very comfortable place in which to watch a film. As well as the cinema screens it also has a bar, a café and a couple of rooms for hire. They have gigs in here and have their own craft market. Walking into their beautiful and glamorous main screening room is like stepping back in time. https://www.tynesidecinema.co.uk/

- Ouseburn Coffee Company  -  From my top 5, Ouseburn Coffee Company (OCC) is definitely the most hidden away. This coffee roastery on Foundary Lane in Ouseburn was (I think) set up this year by two brothers. The roastery doubles as a small café and shop from which they sell their very fine, ethically sourced, artisan coffee. There are around 5 blends to choose from including their signature 'Foundary No 1' & you can sit and enjoy a cup, secreted away in the surroundings of the lovely Ouseburn Valley. If you love coffee, then it is worth visiting for the smell alone.  http://ouseburncoffee.wordpress.com/

Okay so that's the five, but as discovering and supporting independent establishments is a topic very close to my heart and as there are quite a number of awesome 'lesser known' haunts I want to give credit too, i'm taking this opportunity to give them a mention:

- Pet Lamb Patisserie - An independent cupcake kiosk in the Grainger Market set up by two lovely talented baking ladies. http://www.petlambpatisserie.com/

- Hoults Yard - A historic and arty hub in Ouseburn that is home to art studios, galleries, design agencies and a rather nice café/pub. http://houltsyard.wordpress.com/

- Settle Down - My close 2nd favourite café in Newcastle. Great value, great people, and a nice chilled out atmosphere. http://www.thesettledown.com/

- The Cluny - A fab pub & gig venue in Ouseburn with an excellent choice of ales!! http://www.thecluny.com/

- No 28 - A nice but pricey bar with a good atmosphere offering tasty food in unusually decorated surroundings. http://www.no28.co.uk/

- RPM - An independent record shop on High Bridge Street. 4 Old George Yard  Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear NE1 1EZ

- Made in Jesmond - A cute little boutique in Jesmond offering handmade homewares, set up by one of the folks who used to be involved in Made In Newcastle. http://www.facebook.com/MadeInJesmond

- Mmm  - A tasty food merchants in the Grainger Market offering goods such as chutneys & infused oils http://www.mmm-food.co.uk/

Right i'm sure you've all had enough of me harping on by now so i'll shut up. But before I dash, just a reminder that Made In Newcastle are having a Christmas Fair on the 15th Dec in Gosforth with 35 stalls from local designers, artists, makers and independent businesses. To find out more visit here: http://madeinnewcastle.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/a-christmas-shopping-alternative.html
Oh & tell your friends ^__^

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